2021 Honorees

Laura Burbedge

Director of Online

“As a leader I am a coach, I don't micromanage.”

Tell us about where you work and what you do there.

I am the Director of Online at Waitrose, and look after all aspects of our online business, from the UX on the website through to the vans and drivers that turn up at customers’ doors with their shopping.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m someone who loves to learn, so I’m always reading and researching. Currently, I’m training to become a personal performance coach. I love fashion and food, so feel really lucky to do the job I do.

What is your leadership style?

As a leader I am a coach, and I don’t micromanage. I get my energy from seeing the people I work with thrive and exceed their own expectations of what they thought they were capable of achieving.

What do you think has been your biggest professional success so far?

Responding to COVID at Waitrose.com is one of the most humbling and challenging situations I’ve ever had to deal with. Overnight, visits to our website increased almost 10 times. It crashed, we ran out of slots, and we had to find a way to support the most vulnerable in society. All of which we had to do on Zoom. All of us had to dig deep to be our most resilient, most creative, and collaborative to get the job done.

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What goals do you have for 2021?

To qualify as a coach to enable me to help others achieve their goals.

What do you think is the next big trend in eCommerce?

Supporting the local community more. COVID has driven customers to think and shop more locally and support local producers and retailers. How will eCommerce giants react and support this trend?

Name an eCommerce brand you admire and why.

At the moment I’m really loving Thortful. They seemingly appeared overnight and provided amazing service, supported small designers, and brought a bit of laughter with their cards at a time where we needed it most.